The synonym had been invited but decided to stroll into the tavern next door
A horse walks into a bar. The bartender asks why the long face?
The horse, lacking the cognitive ability to understand the English language, looks at the bartender, abruptly shits on the floor and leaves.
A metaphor, a simile and an analogy were in a bar. They’d been drinking heavily for hours.
“You three look so alike,” said the bartender.
“That’s racist!” said the simile, pointing at the bartender.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend anyone,” said the bartender, “no one’s ever told me what a simile is, I can’t tell you what that was like,” there was a hungry look in the face of the bartender. You know the look, when you haven’t eaten for a while.
“You’re behaving like a hyperbole, but without the humour!” said the metaphor to the simile.
“Now you’re calling me fat!” said the simile.
“Oh, my god, what are you like? Stop behaving like such an idiom!” exclaimed the metaphor, “my friends keep telling me, that my incorrect use of metaphors will get me in trouble, but you don’t see me calling them out. If they’re right, we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it,” the metaphor spoke with a misplaced sense of authority. The metaphor had been ordering everyone around all evening.
The simile was growing angry, “the bartender is a racist, fat-hating…”
“Listen”, said the metaphor to the simile, “as a kid, I always remember my dad being a good dad, but he was no good at being a metaphor, he’d say stuff like, ‘you’re a fucking idiot,’ now, you don’t see me complaining do you?”
“But it’s still racist to say we all look the same,” said the simile.
“I really can’t tolerate it when you similes, confuse reality with metaphors. It makes my head literally explode! You similes do that all the time,” said the metaphor.
“Bartender, same again please,” said the analogy. The analogy had the kind of voice that tells its life story in a handle of words. The analogy looked straight at the simile as they spoke, “let me ask you a question; what do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?”
“You’re making fun of me!” exclaimed the simile.
“Us three have been talking bullshit for the last couple hours,” said the analogy, “we’ve talked about a lot of stuff. On the one hand, some of the language we used may come across as offensive to some, On the other hand, we’re activists for positive social change discussing contentious issues, the bartender here is simply saying, from his perspective we all look the same. Is it the bartender’s fault that the average person can’t differentiate between a simile, a metaphor and an analogy? The bartender is only expressing their worldview. I’m interested in hearing what part of the bartender’s statement is racist.” The analogy took a long puff on their cigarette.
The simile hesitated before answering, “you can’t say we all look the same.”
“But you’ve taken what the bartender said out of context, without context, where would we be?” The analogy asked the simile. The analogy continued, “do you remember that time the metaphor broke into song because he couldn’t find the key? And what did you do? You called the police!”
“What does context mean?” The simile nervously asked the analogy.
“In what context is it being used?” The analogy asked the simile.
“You’re poking fun at me again,” said the simile.
“Maybe I am, but listen, and listen good, I know it’s the job of similes to go around and say something is like something else, but you can’t go around saying stuff is like something else when it’s clearly not. At least when the metaphor says something is something else, it actually is.”
The analogy took another puff on their cigarette before continuing, “I’ve seen you hanging out with that bunch of idioms. Those guys aren’t what they seem. The language those idioms use isn’t meant to be taken literally. I think you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd.”
The simile interrupted; “don’t patronise me!” The simile was beginning to lose their composure, “you analogies are all the same, you’re always saying something is like something else to make some sort of an explanatory point, you all think you’re better than us similes!”
“Just because all similes are metaphors, doesn’t mean all metaphors are similes,” said the analogy to the simile.
The simile looks at the analogy blankly and confused.
The bartender spoke, “it’s been great listening to you guys talk, I’ve learnt so much just from being in your company, you’ve made me feel more confident in the use of figurative language, I now feel able to have my cake and eat it.”
The bartender looked grateful but in a blissfully ignorant kind of way, the metaphor was still nodding their head in agreement with the analogy. The analogy was now in conversation with a synecdoche and a metonymy. The simile still looked confused.
Please note: Since the above story was written, the simile has been diagnosed with hypertension, a form of ADHD (Analogy Deficit and Hyperboltivity Disorder), with traits of anxiety.
Originally published in Medium publication MuddyUm, 11th November 2019.